US President Donald Trump has lashed out at Kamala Harris, the VP pick of Joe Biden, for what he said was “anti-vax rhetoric,” demanding an apology, as he turns the charge of “politicizing the vaccine” against his rivals.
The president condemned Harris and her running mate’s stated distrust of Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s record-time Covid-19 vaccine rollout. “Biden and his very liberal running mate” – whom Trump initially did not mention by name – “should immediately apologize for this reckless anti-vaccine rhetoric that they are talking right now,” he said.
President @realDonaldTrump: Under my leadership we’ll produce a vaccine in record time. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris should apologize immediately for their reckless anti-vaccine rhetoric. pic.twitter.com/O4V5Zdwayi
“She’s talking about disparaging a vaccine, so that people don’t think [the Covid-19 vaccine] was a great achievement!” Trump later replied to a reporter’s question that did name Harris after he finished his Labor Day remarks.
Claiming he’d spoken to the heads of Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and “the greatest medical companies in the world,” Trump insisted a vaccine for the coronavirus would likely be rolled out before Election Day.
“If this were the Obama administration, you wouldn’t have this vaccine for three years! In fact, you likely wouldn’t have it at all,” Trump bragged. The usual vaccine development timeline in the US is about 10 years, and the record (according to even the nation’s biggest vaccination cheerleaders) is about four years. However, Trump’s “Warp Speed” jab, developed under the leadership of the man behind the UK’s disastrous 2009 swine flu jab, would be developed in under 8 months if it came out in October as the president is already hinting.
Harris and Biden’s sudden pivot from suggesting the country should remain closed until the emergence of a Covid-19 vaccine to casting doubt on Trump’s version mirrors the about-face the president’s own health officials have done when confronted by Russia becoming the first to approve a mass-market vaccine against the virus. A study published on Friday indicated recipients of the Russian formula exhibited an antibody response to the vaccine, though several test subjects experienced mild side effects.
Interestingly, when Trump discussed his meetings with the pharma companies, he did not mention Moderna, the newbie firm working on a controversial RNA vaccine – most of whose test subjects reportedly suffered nasty side effects.
Harris told CNN on Saturday that she “would not trust Donald Trump” regarding a vaccine rolled out before Election Day in November, insisting there would have to be a “credible source of information that talks about the efficacy and reliability of whatever he’s talking about.”
Kamala Harris said that President Donald Trump’s word alone on any potential coronavirus vaccine is not enough: “I would not trust his word. I would trust the word of public health experts and scientists but not Donald Trump” #CNNSOTUhttps://t.co/MM3NELp1ltpic.twitter.com/H4nF2Bn4T4
“I will not take his word for it,” she continued. Harris, Biden, and others backing his campaign have accused the president of “politicizing” the vaccine development initiative, even as both sides attempt to wrangle the Covid-19 pandemic into a winnable election.
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